Racebrook Referendum: Do You Know What You’re Voting For?

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Feb 142021

The  Recebrook Referendum will take place at the High Plains Community Center Gym on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

A Town Meeting was held via Zoom, see link below.

After much discussion, the entire bi-partisan Board of Selectmen is in favor of the proposal.

If you are unsure of why the purchase may or may not be a good idea. Keep in mind that it will preserve the land from ever being developed. That alone from what residents have told me is enough to make them want to vote YES.

But not everyone feels that way.

See the question and answer section below for more detailed information:

My apologies for not posting it sooner. I tore a hole in my cornea and was unable to read or post anything for a few days as it was terribly sensitive to light.


Answers to your questions that have been received by email and phone calls regarding the Race Brook Country Club purchase. 

Can you explain how the bond indebtedness of $10.3 mil equates to actual cash outlay from the town budget? Can you explain the bond repayment? 

The bond payments start out at approximately $567,000 and drop to approximately $426,000 at the end of the twenty years. The lease has Race Brook paying about half the bond to start, payments will start at $250,000 per year and move to $380,000 per year for 40 years. One mil is currently about $2,000,000, so the Town would be paying about 1/8 of a mil then that amount will shrink over time as the payments from Race Brook increase. 

What is the financial impact to me the taxpayer? 

These are the current best estimate figures we have available at this time A $357,143 home assessed @70% $250,000 could be a $52 increase
A $714,286 home assessed @ 70% $500,000 could be a $105 increase
A $1,071,429 home assessed @70% $750,000 could be a $158 increase 

What does the country club pay in taxes now? Are they up to date? Will they continue to pay any taxes? 

Race Brook Country Club paid $125,323.88 in real estate taxes, and $27,617.18 in personal property taxes this past year. They are up to date. They will continue to pay only the personal property taxes. 

Are there any provisions in place to protect the Town of Orange from Race Brook going bankrupt? What will happen if Race Brook goes bankrupt? 

This is a strong reason for the Town to be proactive. If this did happen the Town would then decide the future. 

Who is responsible for the upkeep to property and buildings the Town or Race Brook? 

Race Brook is responsible for all maintenance and upkeep. There will also be an independent yearly review to make sure things are kept up. 

Will Town residents be able to play golf? 

The Town is purchasing the land and buildings not the business of operating a golf course. There are two other public courses in Orange, and we do not want there to be a conflict of interest or hurt their businesses. 

How is this different than the Woodbridge purchase of the Woodbridge Country Club property? 

The Town of Woodbridge bought a bankrupt property that had been closed and was not operating. The buildings were in poor condition and paid $7.4 million and put money into it and thought they could operate it. It was too far gone for the Town of Woodbridge to make it work. 

Can residents use the banquet facility? 

The banquet facility is available for rental for events, you have to contact the club. 

Who did the appraisal and review of the business operations? 

The appraisal was done by Kerin & Fazio and review of the business operations was discussed with the Town auditors. 

Will the Referendum be held via ZOOM? 

No, The Special Town Meeting being held Tuesday February 2, 2021 is being adjourned to a referendum. The Referendum will be in person on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at High Plains Community Center. Absentee ballots are available by requesting a ballot from the Town Clerk. You may do this by downloading the form from the Town of Orange website www.orange-ct.gov or by calling the Town Clerk at 203-891-4730. Absentee ballots must be returned to The Town Clerk by February 16, 2021. The ballot box outside Town Hall is also available for returning ballots for your convenience. 

Will the Town be managing the golf course and banquet facility? 

No, The Town is purchasing the land and buildings not the business of operating a golf course. 

Will the Town have liability costs or have to insure the property? 

The Town will ask Race Brook to indemnify us by having the Town of Orange listed as an additional insured and hold us harmless. However, it will also be on the Town’s umbrella to assure full coverage. 

When do the bond payments begin? 

That will depend on when the sale is completed, there is usually a six-month grace period before you make your first payment. The payments are scheduled to begin September 2022. 

Is Race Brook being asked to make a reserve capital fund? 

There is a provision in the draft lease that Race Brook has a capital account for maintenance and upkeep. There is also a provision that the Town has the right to do a yearly review of the property and building and notify the tenant of needs to be done, if the tenant should fail to perform The Town could have it done and charge them for the services. 

Why does Race Brook want to sell? 

Race Brook does not want to sell the bank is forcing them to pay the debt that was borrowed in 2006 for a new clubhouse and maintenance facility. That is how I found out about the situation, they were having test holes done for a subdivision on the parcel that is bounded by Race Brook Road, Shepard Lane, Lambert road, Orange Center Road, and Derby Avenue. 

Are there any environmental issues the Town may be responsible for? 

There are no issues that I am aware of. 

How is this beneficial to the Town? 

The benefit to the Town is to control the destiny of 287 acres of land and improvements for future generations. The purchase price equates to about $29,600 per acre. The Town would have the choice to leave it as open space, lease it, sell it, or develop it into something else. This is the first time the Town would have a land purchase and be paid back for buying the land. 

Town Meeting On Zoon.


Get Your Flu Shot: It’s Especially Important This Year

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Oct 022020

The Orange Visiting Nurse Association will host a Flu Clinic at High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road, on Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Be sure to bring your insurance card with you to the clinic. Wear a mask, prepare to be socially distanced.

Acceptable insurances for the flu shot vaccine are Medicare, Aetna, and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield only.

If you need more information, call 203-891-4752.

Orange Town Hall Is Open

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Jun 022020

The Orange Town Hall Offices are now Open with a strict new set of rules.

Anyone entering the building:

• MUST be wearing a mask.

• Wait outside the office doorway until he or she is asked to come in.

• Follow all state COVID-19 safety guidelines (social distancing).

Please respect the town employees and help to keep them safe in their workplace.

The Offices at High Plains Community Center also are open, with personnel on hand to answer phones, but there still are no activities at the Senior Center or Rec Department.

Please call in advance if you have any questions.


Drive Thru Food Drive A Huge Success

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May 302020

Orange Police Detective Carolyn Bailey, Youth Services Coordinator Jessica Simone, Community Services Director Joan Cretella, and Orange Food2Kids coordinator Susan vonRabenstein stood outside the High Plains Community Center on Saturday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. collecting food for Orange Food 2 Kids, and the Orange Food Bank.
Food 2 Kids is a nonprofit that was created to deliver bags of food to children in need on the weekends. However, with the coronavirus, the need has become full-time.
The OPD is asking for individually packaged foods and snacks. Meals that can be prepared with no or water only. Any other donations that are received will be donated to the Orange Food Bank.

Simone, vonRabenstein, and Officer Bailey show off the day’s Food2Kids donations

By the end of the four-hour collection period, the front room of the center that used to house the Probate Office was filled with bags of food for distribution.

“This is just from TODAY! A million thank yous from Orange Food2Kids and the Orange Food Bank! This community is so very generous.” vonRabenstein wrote on the Food2Kids Facebook page. “Thank you to OPD Det. Carolyn Bailey for putting this together and getting the word out!

Orange Community Women Present Mad Science!

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Jan 232020

Here is a fun family event for all ages, mark your calendar for Saturday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. when the Orange Community Women present Mad Science at the High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road.

Mad Science stage shows have been captivating audiences of all ages for more than 30 years. 

This spectacular show thrills audiences with impressive science experiments including foggy dry ice storms and giant beach balls floating in the air.

Advance tickets are $5 (or $7 at the door) get yours now by contacting Michelle at 203-605-4383 or by e-mail at fbailey1@optonline.net or from any member of OCW

Dress For The Cold, Come For The Displays. Tractor Parade Dec. 8

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Dec 082019

As we announced last Monday, an Orange Holiday Festival fan-favorite event, The Lighted Tractor Parade, now in its third year, will take place after all.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli notified Orange Live of the new, complete event details.

He said, “There is a makeup event this Sunday at the fairgrounds. The park and Rec Dept will have hotdogs and drinks. They will be holding an outdoor movie night for the kids with a couple of Disney movies.”

“At 4:30 p.m., the lighted tractors will parade up Orange Center Road to the Green, wait for the police to open the road, clear traffic, then close again so the tractors will return to the fairgrounds,” he said. “A new event is being born!”

 Tractor Participants will line up on the Basketball Ball Court Side of Community Center at 4:00 p.m.

The Parade will begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by drive-in holiday movies beginning at 6:00 PM at High Plains.  Hot dogs, chili, hot chocolate, and popcorn will be available.
This morning the temperature was in the teens, but luckily, by the time this event begins, it will be closer to 40, or at least the upper 30s. But you really need to be prepared. Dress appropriately for the activities you’re planning to enjoy.
If your kids choose to be outside, bring waterproof blankets to cover the ground on which to put warm blankets for the movie viewing. Dress the kids in snowsuits and snow boots so they’ll be toasty warm during the movies.
Come, enjoy and spread the word!

Important ELECTION DAY Reminder

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Nov 032019

Both candidates for the first selectman office would like to remind all Orange residents that EVERY voting district will be casting their votes at High Plains Community Center on Tuesday, Nov. 5 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

If you are accustomed to voting at Mary L. Tracy School and forget about the change in location, no worries, just follow the signs directing you to High Plains, 525 Orange Center Road.

If, for some reason, you still haven’t chosen a candidate, remember to watch the short video clips from the debates that we are posting here on Orange Live.

Each question is posted on separate video clips (and all are labeled with the subject), so you can find the answers to whatever is important to you.



Chamber Debate: Development On Arterial Roads

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Nov 012019

The Orange Chamber of Commerce hosted a first selectman’s candidates debate between Incumbent Jim Zeoli and challenger Jody Dietch.

In this video, they share their thoughts on developments on the arterial roads between Route one and Route 34.

HERE is a link to the video so you can hear their responses.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5. All Orange Districts will vote at High Plains Community Center from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Orange Shredding/Mattress Recycling Event

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Oct 192019

The Orange Recycling Committee has announced the next paper shredding and mattress recycling event for Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 9 a.m. to Noon at the front parking lot of High Plains Community Center (HPCC).

The committee will once again be joined by the Mattress Recycling Council collecting used mattresses and box springs.

The secure, on-site paper shredding service will once again be handled by Affordable Solutions,
owned and operated by Orange resident Joe Johnston.

Residents may bring bags or boxes filled with documents for shredding and volunteers from the Orange Recycling Committee will deposit them into the shredding truck. This service is generously funded by the Rotary Club of Orange. Residents may show their appreciation by donating to the Orange Rotary Scholarship Fund. Rotarians will be on hand to collect donations.

Residents also may bring mattresses and box springs for recycling. This free service is made
possible through a partnership with the Mattress Recycling Council’s Bye Bye Mattress

Dry mattresses (of all sizes) and box springs will be accepted. However, mattresses
from futons/sofa beds or waterbeds; mattresses infested with bed bugs; wet, damaged or
excessively soiled mattresses; sleeping bag or mattress pads/toppers, are not part of the

For residents who need assistance getting mattresses and box springs to the event, members of
the Orange Lions Club will pick-up these items from residences, given they are outside and dry
or in a garage for easy access, as volunteers will not enter individual homes.

Anyone interested in this pick-up service should contact Ken Lenz at 203-795-3906. The fee for pick-up is $10 per mattress or box spring. Payment is by cash or check made out to Orange Lions Charities, and all proceeds are considered a charitable donation.

Orange Recycling Committee Chair Mitch Goldblatt said he is excited about this opportunity for our residents to dispose of items at no cost.

“Saturday, October 19th will be a great morning for cleaning out before the winter sets in”, Goldblatt said. “I’m encouraging all residents to bring their personal documents, papers, and even mattresses for the ultimate Orange Recycling event!”

“We are thrilled to partner with the Rotary Club of Orange and the Orange Lions Club to offer these important environmental services to residents,” said Goldblatt. “Purging homes of these items and keeping them out of landfills helps our environment as well as our tax dollars. This is a fun event that gives volunteers and residents an opportunity to work together for a cleaner and more sustainable planet.”

For the ninth time, the Orange Recycling Committee is helping residents dispose of thousands of pounds of sensitive financial and medical papers in a secure, environmentally-responsible way. Adding mattress and box spring recycling to this event has made this one event not to be missed.

Paper Shredding and Mattress Recycling Drive


WHEN: Saturday, October 19th, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., rain or shine

WHERE: High Plains Community Center (front parking area), 525 Orange Center Road, Orange, CT


 Tax papers, bills, receipts, statements, and documents that contain personal, financial and/or
medical information. No need to remove staples or elastic bands, but clips should be removed for

 Mattresses and box springs.


Paper that is already shredded, newspapers, notebooks, folders, and
other papers that can go in the regular residential recycling bins.

About the Orange Recycling Committee

The Orange Recycling Committee is a group of volunteers appointed by the Board of Selectmen, who live in Orange and are committed to educating, increasing, and simplifying recycling options for Orange
Website: www.orangerecycles.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ORCinCT/

Update On High Plains Renovation Projects

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Jul 072019

The bond oversight committee on tour of High Plains

On Thursday, June 27, Orange Live joined the Bond Construction Oversight Committee at High Plains Community Center for a tour of the South Wing and Pool renovation projects.

Anyone who spent time in the South wing for meetings or during the annual train show may remember that the tiled walls were a highly glossed beige.

Since, they were sanded down, prepped and re-painted green. In May, the committee noted that the paint was peeling from the walls in multiple locations. The painting contractor was fired and a new one hired to complete the job.

There are two large areas that had formerly been two rooms, but the dividing walls were knocked down. They are now waiting for Accordion dividers so organizations can make the meeting spaces smaller when necessary.

The men’s and women’s bathrooms have been completely renovated and are bright, clean and modern.

In May, the Pool Locker Room schedule was updated showing the start of tile work on June 5. Floors were puddling badly in the men’s and family locker rooms and were reconfigured for better drainage.

Committee member Mitch Goldblatt, an Orange selectman, said he was disappointed that the job hadn’t been completed before the Recreation Department’s camp program started. He added that the Nursery School should be able to open again in late August.

From what we observed during the tour, we think everyone will be pleased with the “New” and improved High Plains Community Center.